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Is that Egg on Me?

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Hey, Foodless Faces!

Today I have another interesting old adage to look into. The term adage may be better known to you as a common saying or turn of phrase. We’re talking about idioms that are so interwoven into our everyday speech, we hardly even know we’re using them when we do. Some examples that we covered last year are ‘Keep it Up’ and ‘Don’t Lose your Head’.

The one I have for us today has always sounded a little strange to me: ‘Caught with Egg on your Face’. It means that you’ve been proven wrong and made to look foolish. If your friend at summer camp said archery was the easiest sport in the world and then proceeded to miss the target entirely, you could say they really had egg on their face.  

While the exact origin is somewhat of a mystery, it’s likely to come from unfavorable receptions of criminals as well as poorly-produced shows on the stage. Back in the Middle Ages, English theater was a coarse and sometimes violent scene. If the play or show was particularly bad or a criminal was especially reviled, rotten eggs along with spoiled fruit and produce—the common trash of the time—were often hurled from the audience and directed at the faces of these criminals and bad actors.

It was a pretty harsh reaction. Stage performers these days are made to feel scorned by way of some simple booing through cupped hands and maybe a bad review. But rotten food projectile straight for someone’s face really drove the message home that they were unappreciated. Good thing for actors today that we’ve departed from this horrible way to show our disfavor.

Enjoy any live shows you may attend and be sure you leave the spoiled food and rotten eggs behind! As always, thanks for reading, Camp Folks! Till next time.


- John

Posted in Adage Origin


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